As the COVID-19 situation began to improve around the world and with the easing of restrictions, most Russian citizens decided to spend their holidays outside the country.
Based on data provided by the Russian Border Service FSB, during the first half of 2021, from January to June, 806,212 people traveled from Russia to Turkey for tourism purposes, indicating that Turkey was the preferred destination, especially for vacationers. Summer vacation is in, TheSchengen.com reports.
As such, according to these figures, the number of those traveling to Turkey has increased significantly, registering a 135 percent increase compared to the same period last year. However, the numbers are far from the pre-pandemic levels that were recorded during 2019.
After Turkey, the second destination that became popular among Russians this year was Cyprus. About 172,671 Russians made a trip to Cyprus from January to June, far fewer than the number of those who traveled to Turkey.
However, compared to 2020, the number of those who traveled to Cyprus this year indicates a positive development in the travel and tourism sector.
In addition to the two destinations mentioned above, Greece also received a large number of Russian travelers during the first half of this year. Based on the same data provided by the Russian Border Service FSB, another 32,650 Russians traveled to Greece during the first half of 2021.
However, the numbers were lower than those of 2019, as this year most EU destinations, without including Turkey, decided to impose severe restrictions on travelers from third countries, part of which is also Russia.
Currently, Russia is on the list of Greek exemptions. This means that all Russian citizens who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 are not required to follow the rules of self-isolation. However, they are still required to take the test when they arrive in Greece, regardless of their vaccination status.
The number of people who traveled to Finland was also high, but until June all trips were made only for absolutely necessary purposes. However, since the Finnish authorities decided to change the country’s travel restrictions, about 13,000 Russian citizens crossed the North Karelia border between Russia and Finland during the month of September.
According to the Finnish Border Guard Service (RAJA), the Russians accounted for 77.5 percent of the total border crossings in September at the North Karelia border point, which is a 40 percent increase compared to the same month last year.
As other destinations such as Mexico, Maldives, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates decided to open their borders to Russian tourists, they have also become popular destinations, especially for those who wanted to spend their summer holidays outside Russia.